Helen Dennis

Helen Dennis

Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on issues of aging, employment and retirement with academic, corporate and nonprofit experience. She has received awards for her university teaching at USC’s Davis School, Andrus Gerontology Center and for her contributions to the field of aging, the community and literary arts. She has edited two books and written more than 100 articles and has frequent speaking engagements. She is the weekly columnist on Successful Aging for the Southern California Newspaper Group, and has assisted more than 15,000 employees in preparation for the non-financial aspects of retirement. In her volunteer life, she has served as president of five nonprofit organizations. Fully engaged in the field of aging, she was a delegate to a White House Conference on Aging and is co-author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller, "Project Renewment®: The First Retirement Model for Career Women." Helen has extensive experience with the media including Prime Time, NPR, network news, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee and Christian Science Monitor. She recently has been recognized by PBS Next Avenue as one of the 50 influencers in aging for 2016. For more information, visit www.HelenMDennis.com.

Recent articles

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: Most times, you really aren’t as old as you feel

    Q I am 78 years old with several chronic conditions. I use a cane and must admit that I am in constant pain, which affects everything I do. For the first time I really feel old and believe that others see me that way. When on a bus or train, individuals offer me their seat; when others speak to me they raise their voices and some just pat me on the shoulder. I don’t feel the way I think they see me. What can I do to change others’ perception of me? —...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: The ins and outs of quickly finding agency caregivers

    Q My father recently was released from the hospital. At a moment’s notice we were told he was coming home and would need care. The immediacy was created because a family member insisted my father be released quickly. Because of my father’s poor eyesight and fragile state, we immediately started to look for home care. We didn’t know if we should work with an agency or hire someone independently. We tried the agency route. It took us three tries to get one that met my...

  • Health

    Successful Aging: If we have ageism laws, what’s the problem?

    Last week we discussed G.C.’s somewhat ageist experience with a cardiac technician (and by ageist, we are referring to age discrimination). This week I’d like to explore that topic a little further. Ageism — prejudice against older people — is the last remaining socially acceptable “ism” in our society. While racism, sexism and homophobia still exist, ageism seems a bit different for one reason: It’s considered a social norm. It is...

  • Aging and disability services

    Successful Aging: When health care can lead down a discriminating path

    Q I went for a scheduled stress test today. The technician was ready to inject a substance that would artificially raise my heart when I told her I preferred to use of the treadmill and have the nuclear test with the injection as a backup. The technician replied, “The nuclear test is better, only athletes do intense work outs that get their heart rate where it needs to be.” I pushed back, got my way and used the treadmill with no problem. I am 75, in great shape and never...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: Factor in fall prevention outside one’s home

    Q You’ve been excellent in teaching me how to avoid falls in my home. At 79, an even bigger problem is how I can avoid falling outside of my home? Note I walk my dog daily at the beach and want to stay on my feet. Many thanks. – L.S.A Dear L.S.:Indeed, staying on your feet is important. Falls are frequent, dangerous and take a human and financial toll. Here are some alarming statistics according to the U.S. Centers for Disease...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: The legacy of a house

    Q My mother recently passed away. She lived in her own home for the past 50 years. I now have the responsibility of getting her house ready to sell. The task confronting me is going through all of her things and deciding what to do with them. I grew up in that house so the memories are long and strong. When I walk into my old home with all of her possessions still intact, I feel I want to cry. How do I get over this?— N.S.A Dear N.S.:Your question is...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: Do men and women seek same gender role models?

    Last we week we discussed a conversation between a group of highly effective men and women focusing on retirement and transitions. The men are members of the Life Transition Group; the women are from Project Renewment. Members of both groups are or were passionate about their work and intent on creating their next chapter of life to be the best one possible. Our topic for discussion was role models and how do we maintain interest and enthusiasm.Here are some highlights of our...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: Renewing goals with Life Transition Group, Project Renewment

    This is the sixth year I have had the pleasure of participating in a conversation with eight men and eight women to discuss considerations, challenges and opportunities of a new life stage — some call retirement.Cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson commented on this new life stage, writing: “We’ve added 20 years not to the end of life, but to the middle of life.”For many this is a time of high expectations and launching of new aspirations,...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: 7 ways to think differently about age

    Last week we addressed a question by N.S., who wrote that aging is getting a bad rap. She suggested we needed a campaign to emphasize that old is good without referring to cheese or wine. The FrameWorks Institute, a think tank in Boston, created an initiative titled “Reframing Aging” to address what it says our nation needs: an attitude adjustment about aging. What to doThe initiative identified several themes found to be effective to boost...

  • Seniors

    Successful Aging: Four ways to change attitudes toward aging

    Q At age 75, I think aging is getting a bad rap. It’s harder to get a job, greeting cards make fun of us, we old folks are seen as responsible for problems with Social Security and Medicare and movies don’t have enough of us as heroes. Shouldn’t we have a campaign about “old is good” and not refer to wine or cheese in the same breath? Is this a wild thought? — N.S.A Dear N.S.:Your thought is not wild. In fact, it is...